Gluten-Free Spiced Pear Cookies

Ah, Fall… gotta love this season.  Pears, apples, spices… all of them show up in full force to drown us in their comforting tastes and smells.  This weekend I was at the Farmer’s Market (as usual) and decided to pick up a few bags of some dried Asian pears (grown by a local farmer out here) mixed with roasted pecans.    Upon getting home and remembering that I would be attending a showing of No Impact Man with a bunch of locals, I decided to make a batch of cookies to share.  Sadly, the last time I did this I learned that a few of the people attending the movie couldn’t eat gluten, so I decided to roll up my sleeves and make these gluten-free as well.

Mmmmm... tastes like Fall!

Mmmmm... tastes like Fall!

Unfortunately I was only able to get one photo of the cookies and none of the process due to time and how quickly they were snatched up when I unwrapped them (over two dozen gone in a matter of minutes).  Luckily, though,the processes I use in here are covered in previous blog posts which will be linked to as they come up.  Ready to get started?

Ingredient Breakdown:

Dry Goods & Spices

  • 5.6 oz Brown Rice Flour
  • 4.6 oz White Sorghum Flour
  • 0.2 oz Corn Flour
  • 0.2 oz Oat Flour
  • 0.2 oz Garbanzo Flour
  • 0.2 oz Almond Flour/Meal
  • 1.2 oz Corn Starch
  • 0.5 oz Tapioca Starch/Flour
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger, powdered
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom, ground
  • 1/4 tsp Coriander, ground
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice, ground
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg, ground
  • 1/4 tsp Cloves, ground
  • 1/4 tsp Grains of Paradise, ground (optional)

Creaming Goods:

  • 8 oz Butter, melted
  • 10 oz Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 oz White Sugar

Wet Goods:

  • 1 Egg + 1 Egg Yolk (or just 1 Duck Egg)
  • 2 Tbs Whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Almond Extract


  • 5 oz Dried Asian Pears (dried pears or apples should also work), diced
  • 3 oz Roasted Pecans, chopped
  • 4 oz White Chocolate, diced
  • 2 Tbs Pear and/or Spiced Liquor (I used Hangar One’s Spiced Pear Vodka)


  • 10g Water, 90°F
  • 1/2 tsp Agar Agar powder (or powdered Gelatin)
  • 30g Golden Syrup (Light Corn Syrup can be used)
  • 1 tsp Glycerin
  • 170g Powdered Sugar (sifted)
  • Shortening (or Vegetable Oil)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 oz Golden Syrup (or Agave Nectar/Maple Syrup)
  • 1 Tbs Water

Whew… got all that?  I know, I know… it’s a lot, but the end result really is worth it. Plus, a lot of this stuff will remain in your kitchen for quite some time, so you’ll get some good use out of it.  Now it’s time to cook… this cookie is made in four stages:  The dough, the fondant, the baking, the frosting.


The Dough:

  1. Mix diced dried fruit with liquor and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Whisk together all dry goods into a bowl… make sure to blend well.
  3. Cream sugars and butter together for 2 minuted on Medium (it won’t look creamy… more like an oil slick, that’s okay).
  4. Scrape down sides and add in all of the wet goods (egg, extracts, milk), then mix until well combined (about 1 – 2 minutes).
  5. Reduce speed to Low and add dry goods in 3 – 4 batches, making sure the flour is integrated well (stop and scrape down edges as needed).
  6. Stir in all Add-Ins on low, until well combined.
  7. Put plastic wrap directly on the top of the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I usually leave it for the next day).

The Fondant:

  1. Mix the 90°F water and agar/gelatin together until all dissolved.
  2. Mix in the 30g Golden/Corn Syrup and glycerin and stir until combined.
  3. Add powdered sugar and combine until smooth, well combined and not too sticky (using first stirring with a spoon, then kneading with your hands).  It should look something like this (more brown if using golden vs corn syrup).
  4. Form into a log shape, lightly coat with shortening/oil, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and set aside.

The Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Scoop out 1.5 oz of dough, roll into a ball, and set on a cookie sheet (if you use parchment paper, it’ll work easier), about 6 to 8 to a sheet, but don’t crowd.
  3. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating once half-way through.
  4. Remove from oven, cool for 5 minutes, then place on a baking rack to fully cool before frosting.

The Frosting:

  1. Make a double boiler (I use a small glass bowl over a pot of water) and place in the rolled fondant.
  2. When fondant just starts to melt, add in extract, water and the 1.5 oz of syrup/nectar.
  3. Whisk well, until everything is melted and well combined.
  4. Check temp often, try not to let get above 105°F.
  5. When the temp is reached, remove from heat, and use a spoon to drizzle frosting over the cookies.
  6. Let cool for at least 15 minutes so the frosting can solidify.

That’s it!  You’re completely done… you now should have a moist, chewy, spicy fall cookie to satisfy even the most gluten tolerant out there.  Feel free to play around with the flours or the flavorings… would love to hear what some of you come up with!

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